A disheartened teen takes a trip to Japan to find her true passion.
Japanese-American high school senior Kimi Nakamura’s future is planned out: become a great Asian-American artist. But painting is her mom’s dream. Kimi enjoys designing bold outfits that make her feel like the ultimate version of herself. After fighting with her mom, Kimi is eager to accept a surprise invitation to visit her estranged grandparents in Kyoto over spring break. With a fourth-generation Japanese-American father and a Japanese mother, the country offers her many familiar foods and customs but also a completely foreign culture. With its beautiful sights, Kyoto is the perfect place to find herself. It also helps that Akira, a cute boy, offers to be her guide. What begins as an escape from reality becomes Kimi’s path to developing insights into her mother’s past and her own future. Kuhn (Heroine's Journey, 2018, etc.) has brought together travel, fashion, food, romance, and family to create an incredibly sweet and heartwarming coming-of-age romantic comedy. Weaving in Japanese vocabulary and slang, she also subtly addresses racism and differences between Japanese and Japanese-American cultures. She explores the struggle of discovering one’s familial and cultural history and how it shapes who one becomes. Strong characters and a story with real depth make this a worthy read.
Readers will love this teen rom-com so mochi. (Fiction. 12-18)